The holidays are shaping up to be pretty different this year. The CDC recommends not hosting small indoor family gatherings and recommends only celebrating in-person with people who live in your household. More people may be taking part in a virtual dinner than ever before, and more people may be spending it alone. 

No matter how you’re celebrating, the time after Thanksgiving until New Year’s is always incredibly hectic. Between decorating, shopping, and other preparations, there’s not much time to relax and enjoy the happiest time of the year. One of the most stressful parts for us is preparing a drool-worthy feast. Girls Nite In Online and our wonderful presenters are here to show you all the tips and tricks to throwing the perfect, stress-free holiday meal. 

Even if you’re only cooking for your immediate family (or quarantine pod), prepping all that food can be as stressful as holiday shopping. Join Chef Coralene Franklin of TyQuLae during her workshop, “Family-Style Cooking Made Easy.” Coralene demonstrates how to chop onions and garlic quickly and correctly, one of the hardest cooking basics to get right, and how to season Buffalo chicken for full, delicious flavor. Coralene reveals that her ultimate chef secret comes in the form of seasoned pasta water. She uses it to blanch her broccoli, which saves time that would’ve been spent boiling water and seasoning the veggies. Next, Coralene prepares a roux for her mac and cheese, and instead of adding cream, she adds chunky blue cheese dressing to amp up the flavor. Make sure to check out Coralene’s workshop for more tasty time-saving tips. 

Kathy Wolper of Kitchen Wizards is here to save any first-course catastrophes by showing you how to craft a delicious butternut squash soup in an Instant Pot during her workshop. First, using the saute setting of the pot, Kathy adds butter, celery, carrots, and onion, which she blends after using an immersion blender. One trick Kathy recommends is cooking the butternut squash for about 10 minutes in the Instant Pot before with water so it’s easier to peel. She then adds the squash, some chopped apple, and warmed broth. Then you set it and forget it while Kathy answers all your burning questions about Instant Pot recipes and it’s versatility. 

Cookies might get all the attention during the holidays, but apple desserts deserve a spot at the table too. The first thing on Katrina Adams, from In The Kitchen with K Marie, apple-inspired menu? Creamy Apple Dip with Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips. This sweet dish is sure to upgrade your regular appetizer spread of hummus and veggie. And you can’t have dinner without dessert. Katrina shows you step-by-step how to bake your own apple crisp, which is sure to steal the spotlight from the sugar cookies this year. 

Picking the perfect wine to compliment your meal can also be a struggle. Luckily, Serena Zelezny, a professional wine educator and the founder of “What Am I Drinking?!,” is here to break it down for you. Serena starts from the very beginning- how to pour the perfect glass. She recommends chilling your bottle just enough so it’s cool to the touch, and using a glass that’s big enough to leave room to swirl your wine. Next Serena walks you through the five S’s, a technique for tasting. The first is see, and involves observing the color and texture of the wine. Swirl is the second sense, and helps aerate the wine to create a stronger sense. Next is smell, which can help you identify flavors before you actually taste it. Finally, the sip. Serena recommends letting the wine sit in your mouth while you observe any sensations occur in your mouth. Her workshop is full of tips and tricks to demystify wine shopping so you can make sure to pick the perfect bottle for your feast. 

Check out our upcoming workshops here!